ESCALON, Calif. (KTXL) — On Friday, Disney Legend Alice Estes Davis died at the age of 93 after a career of being involved in some of the most iconic animated movies and animatronic costume designs.
A Disney Legend is a person that receives a Disney Legends Award to recognize those who have made an extraordinary and integral contribution to The Walt Disney Company.
Some of Davis’s most notable work includes costume designs for It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean. She also helped in animating Briar Rose, the lead character in Sleeping Beauty.
Davis was born in Escalon, a roughly 30 minute drive southeast of Stockton, on March 26, 1929.
The family’s stay in the Central Valley was not a long one after Davis was born because by the age of 5 she was attending an elementary school in Los Angeles, according to an interview by D23 with Davis.
From a young age, Davis seemed to have a natural talent in the arts as she won the all-city painting competition for children in the Los Angeles school system when she was 5 years old.
In her interview with D23, Davis said that her biggest inspiration was her mother, who was an artist and taught Davis as a child.
While in high school, Davis won a scholarship to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles where she initially studied costume design and took night classes on animation, where she met her future husband and fellow Disney Legend Marc Davis.
Alice Davis first met Walt Disney in 1957 while out for dinner with her new husband, according to the D23 interview. After a 30-minute conversation with Disney, he told Davis, “You know, you’re going to work for me someday.”
Davis said in the interview with D23 that she didn’t really believe him, but in 1962 she got a call from Disney’s assistant asking if she could do the costumes for “It’s a Small World.”
Disney gave Davis one year to design the costumes and begin patterns for the now-world-famous ride. She worked alongside her husband and the famous Disney artist and Disney Legend Mary Blair.
The attraction, which included Davis’s costumes, would be featured at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.
Her next project would be taking her husbands concept artwork for Pirates of the Carribean and creating the costumes and patterns for the animatronics.
She would also help with the engineering techniques to fit the costumes on the figures.
In 2004, Davis was inducted as a Disney Legend.
As is custom for many Disney greats Davis was honored with a window along Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland, next to her husbands, on May 10, 2012.
Davis was also a supporter of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco that was created by Disney’s daughter Diane Disney Miller.
She gifted several pieces of her husbands artwork to the Walt Disney Family Foundation and spoke at panels and special programs at the museum.
“To the Board and staff at The Walt Disney Family Museum, Alice was an inspiring collaborator, kind-hearted benefactor, and cherished friend,” the museum wrote in a social media post.